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Weekend Wrap-Up: Box Office a Mere Shadow of Former Glory

December 19th, 2011

Well, serves me right for being optimistic. The box office was again filled with disappointments and both wide releases missed expectations, which is bad. They missed expectations by a combined $30 million, which is a disaster. I was going to say, "At least it wasn't as bad as last week!", but that's damning it with faint praise. The overall box office did grow by 57% to $118 million; however, since last weekend was the worse weekend in a few years, this not a reason to celebrate. Compared to last year, the drop-off was 12%. With two weeks left in the year, 2011 is behind 2010's pace by 4% at $9.71 billion to $10.12 billion with no hope of catching up. At this point, the only thing to do is looking forward to 2012 and hope the slump we are in now doesn't extend past the new year.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows missed expectations by a huge degree earning just $39.64 million. There's almost no chance this film will match Sherlock Holmes, but at least with overall positive reviews and the holidays ahead, it should at the very least earn $100 million domestically and it wouldn't be too surprising if it matched its $125 million production budget before its domestic run is over. This will likely be enough for the film to earn a profit sometime during the home market, but I think the studio will be wise to retire the franchise rather than risk making an expensive bomb.

Likewise, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked missed expectations by a large margin, earning second place with $23.24 million during its opening weekend. That's roughly half the average of the first two films in the franchise. On the plus side, even with stunningly bad reviews, the film should benefit from the holidays and could earn a profit sometime during its home market run. However, like the above film, it would be wise for the studio to move on and try something new.

The lone bright spot in the top five was Amazingly, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which earned third place with $12.79 on just 425, most of which were IMAX theaters. (More on its IMAX numbers tomorrow.) With some of the best reviews of any wide release this year, it could have an explosive run when it expands wide on Wednesday. That's the good news. The bad news... It might be the only bright spot all month.

New Year's Eve fell to fourth place with $7.31 million over the weekend for a total of $24.72 million after two. If it had made $25 million during its opening weekend, it still would have been a little disappointing given the time of year.

The Sitter managed to remain in the top five, mainly by default. It earned just $4.61 million over the past three days for a total of $17.93 million after ten. It could see its theater count decimated by the weekend, while it could be knocked out of theaters almost entirely by the second weekend of January.

Young Adult's semi-wide expansion didn't go as well as planned and it could place no higher than tenth place with $3.40 million on 986 screens. Taking into account the holidays, its' stellar reviews, and the early Awards Season success, and this film could still relatively well at the box office, especially when compared to its $12 million budget. That said, it is still underperforming.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Young Adult, New Year’s Eve, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, The Sitter, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked